Naomi's Story 4Chapter 4: End of the Road
The road to Mariim was long, but Naomi had traveled longer distances in less time on horseback. This time, though, they were on foot. The path was made of dirt, and in some areas, gravel. Occasionally, they passed a building or another traveler. For the most part, their surroundings were trees and plains. The gentle wash of a river came from somewhere out of sight. Birds of various kinds sang their respective melodies.
"We'll be passing through a forest in a few miles," said Aaron. "Be on your guard when we do. It's very common for highwaymen and bandits to camp out there and jump travelers."
"There's another way aroundto Mariim, at least. Why don't we take that?"
"Through the forest is faster. We can handle common thugs. It won't be any trouble."
That was easy for him to say. He could disappear if he wanted to. He was probably more familiar with the areaNaomi had only been there once in her life.
"Naomi. You asked me to tell you some things?"
Naomi's Story 3Chapter 3: Regret
Naomi didn't want to be around when Lanei's body was found, but she realized a little too late that it had taken her a few hours to finish the book.
"Yeah, they found her," Aaron said as Naomi peeked out from the inn window. "Now I'd advise you to keep that gun hidden. You just had to use one of the most uncommon weapons on the continent, didn't you?"
"Excuse me, but it's not every day I go planning how to kill someone the right way."
"No. Of course not."
Naomi kept staring out the window. Every word Aaron said sounded regretful. Every one of her own thoughts was conflicted. She'd chosen her path, and wouldn't back away from it. What stung more than anything was the despair she'd brought upon the people in the village. Although she hadn't spoken to anyone save Aaron since the assassination, she could easily see that no one was smiling anymore. People wouldn't speak with each other. They'd give passing glances and scuffle away, minding their own business. Nobody went n
Naomi's Story 2Chapter 2: The Seeker
"Kill a Seeker?" Naomi repeated. "Bring you her head?"
"Psh." The man sheathed his swords and let Naomi stand. "Didn't I say it clearly enough?"
"You did. You killed the ripper. How? Why?"
The man sighed. "You're averting yourself from the obvious. If that thing got out the window, it'd kill the entire population of the city. You just had to be an idiot and lead it to an exit, didn't you? That's the kind of stupid things a Seeker would do."
"But . . . how?"
"You don't have to know. Come with me. Can't have you running out on me now."
The man grabbed Naomi's wrist and pulled her along. As they descended the stairs, Naomi failed to spot Opeil anywhere. His blood was still on the floor, but there was no trail.
"Hey. Opeil's gone."
"Let him go, then. The bond is dissolved. You don't need to worry about him. You wanna walk by yourself now? I don't wanna give any people the wrong impression."
Naomi followed him to an inn about a mile away from Opeil's factory. The recep
Naomi's Story 1Chapter 1: A Child Mercenary
Jonathan Light was well along in his years when he was faced with the worst situation of his life. He had instantly, but secretly, sought help. But he had little to offer as a reward, and most passing mercenaries hadn't taken it. The risk, they'd said, wasn't worth the insultingly low reward. Twenty copper coins for killing a crime lord? Some of the mercenaries had laughed at the elderly novelist. Experienced and amateur alike, every present sellsword had declined the offer.
Jonathan turned from his desk to face his young granddaughter. "Andria."
"Grandpa, you look tired."
"I'm . . . yes, tired."
Jonathan had recently returned from the tavern where traveling mercenaries usually dropped in. Twenty had turned him down before he returned to his small two-story house near the edge of town.
"Andria, when you grown up," he said, "please don't let anyone make you do anything you shouldn't do."
The old man smiled. "Nothing. Nothing." Ruffling his